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You’ve probably heard that regular dental cleanings should be part of your dental hygiene practice. You may even know that you’re supposed to have at least one of these a year, but due to certain socioeconomic disparities or other reasons, you don’t always get as many as you need.

Therefore, it’s common to wonder what happens when you skip dental cleanings. Is it really that bad?

At Grace Dental Group, our provider Woo Young Lee, DDS, recommends an annual cleaning no matter your age or current oral health status. Though he understands the difficulties sometimes associated with meeting this need, he believes the possible side effects are crucial to be aware of and avoid whenever possible.

The lowdown on dental cleanings

If it’s been a while, you might not remember what a regular dental cleaning entails, let alone why they’re recommended. First off, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t only visit the dentist when you notice something wrong. Preventative care is key to good oral health.

Dental cleaning involves professional tools that can help rid your teeth and gums of built-up plaque your toothbrush might not be able to handle. If plaque has built up below your gum line, you might need deep cleaning. X-rays and other procedures might also be part of your annual cleaning to rule out deeper problems.

Why you need regular cleanings

Though some dentists feel every six months is the proper amount of time between cleanings and others feel a year is fine, we all agree that regular cleanings are necessary. The CDC also states that cleaning appointments should be kept with regularity.

But despite this, you still have to take good care of your teeth at home, right? So, is it possible for you to take really good care of your teeth at home, skip your annual appointments, and stay healthy? No, and here’s why.

1. You won’t be able to prevent oral problems

We’ve said it already, but it bears repeating: prevention is better than treatment! We want to be able to help you avoid problems with your oral health before they occur.

For example, when you come in for regular cleaning, your dentist will be able to see if plaque is building up under the gum line, which could lead to periodontal disease down the road. If you don’t come in until your mouth is aching, the problem will likely require more intensive treatment and possibly lead to a several other health problems like diabetes or heart disease.

2. You may never learn the right oral care techniques.

If you don’t visit your dentist, they won’t be able to determine if your brushing, flossing, or mouth-washing habits are serving you well. We can see if you’re missing a certain spot when you brush or if another type of floss might be better for your specific tooth alignment. When we give you advice, you’ll be able to follow it going forward and take even better care of your mouth.

3. You’ll miss out on a professional’s help.

Even if your techniques are impeccable, however, there are certain things you won’t be able to do at home. Every patient has problem areas or just issues that require a professional’s help.

Seeing your dentist will ensure these do not have the opportunity to worsen over time. Avoiding your dentist could lead to plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

4. Your teeth will become discolored.

Those who get regular cleanings can maintain whiter teeth over time. This is because we can do things like help to remove surface stains that toothbrushes can’t fix. If you’re concerned about having a whiter smile, avoiding your dental cleanings certainly won’t help with this.

5. Your dental bills will be higher in the long run.

It’s common to put off dental cleanings because of a lack of funds. In many situations, people see dental care as a luxury they’ll seek when they can. But if you avoid your regular cleanings, you’re likely to spend more down the line on expensive procedures necessary to treat serious problems that a dental cleaning could have prevented much earlier on.

Get your dental cleaning now

As you can see from the list above, not getting a regular cleaning can be problematic for your oral health and your overall wellbeing — and that’s even for those who take good care of their teeth at home!

If you’ve been neglecting your oral health by avoiding regular appointments, we recommend booking one online or calling (415) 921-8867 to visit our San Francisco, CA office.

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